December 1, 2006

The Assassination    of Gerard Hoareau

Gerard Hoareau

The 28th November is the anniversary of the assassination in London in 1985 of the leader of the Mouvement Pour La Resistance (MPR), Gerard Hoareau. Hoareau was gunned down by what British anti-terrorist police believed was a hit man assisted, British police also believed, by another individual (believed to be a Seychellois) who knew Hoareau and was able to identify him to the foreign assassin.

Former President Albert Rene denied that he had any hand in Hoareau’s assassination but admitted that his government officially paid foreign agents to spy on him and other members of the resistance living in the UK. British police discovered that Hoareau’s telephone line was systematically bugged by these agents by placing a device in a junction box. The recordings were made from a safe house bought specially for that purpose from funds transferred from a secret account in the British tax haven island of Jersey. Rene also admitted that he personally listened to Gerard Hoareau’s last telephone conversation in which he changed the appointment to see his local doctor - information which was necessary for the assassin to have in order to lay in wait for him on the fateful day.

Hoareau was killed by two bullets, according to British police, fired from a Stirling machine gun. Sterling machine guns were used in Seychelles by the defunct Police Mobile Unit (PMU). On the day of the coup d’etat insurgents, which included President Michel among them, captured the PMU armoury at Mont Fleuri and took away all the guns.

Neither Hoareau’s assassin nor his accomplice has been caught. But British police arrested a number of individuals who confessed they worked for an Irish private detective, Ian Withers, and were responsible for tapping Hoareau’s telephone line.  Mr. Rene admitted that Withers was employed by his government.

Gerard Hoareau’s assassination marks just one more episode of the cycle of violence caused by the bloody coup d’etat of June 5th 1977 masterminded, planned and executed by Albert Rene. Hoareau was a very bright and highly educated young Seychellois with a degree in philosophy and theology from a prestigious Italian university. He studied in Rome because he originally thought he had the calling to be a priest. Consequently, he was fluent in Latin and Italian, as well as in English and French.

He was well known in Seychelles as a keen footballer and played many caps for the National Team which was created virtually around him. Hoareau was a civil servant and at independence was seconded to work as a special assistant to President James R Mancham at State House, as head of the nascent foreign ministry. As a result of his job he accompanied Mancham to London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, held to coincide with the Jublilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

After the coup d’etat Hoareau returned to Seychelles and was made Director General of Immigration by Rene. It was in this capacity that he foiled an attempt by the Hong Kong based criminal underground organisation, The Triad, to establish a prostitution racket out of the Seychelles from the premises of a bank at Kingsgate House. The bank had been licensed by the new Government of  Mr Rene, over the objection of the previous government led by Mancham.

But despite the fact that he was a second cousin of  Mrs Geva Rene, then the first lady of Seychelles, Hoareau opposed the creation of the one-party state. After the decision by Rene to close down all football clubs in Seychelles and to plan the incarceration of all youngsters reaching the age of sixteen into political education camps for two years, which Rene called the National Youth Service (NYS), Hoareau decided to create an underground opposition movement together with Paul Chow, called  Mouvement Pour La Resistance (MPR) to oppose the creation of the one-party state.

The MPR distributed leaflets in the streets, printed on a Gestetner duplicator, exposing the emerging corruption among Ministers and other party officials. But Hoareau was feared and targeted by the new regime owing to his leadership qualities among the sporting youth.  This fear became more evident after the school children demonstration in October 1979 against the NYS. On November 15, 1979 Hoareau and 100 others were rounded up by the police and held incommunicado without charge or trial at the Union Vale Prison guarded by young Seychellois soldiers led by Tanzanian troops. When he was released nine months later, he was placed under house arrest until he was escorted by security police out of the country.

Hoareau went to South Africa where his parents lived. It was while in South Africa that he plotted the mercenary intervention in Seychelles. In 1982 the South African apartheid regime sent one of its top agents to Seychelles to bribe the one-party state regime into releasing the captured mercenaries. The precondition imposed by the Rene regime was for Gerard Hoareau to be expelled from South Africa. Hoareau’s resident permit was summarily cancelled the moment he left South Africa to go to London, and he was declared persona non-grata.

The apartheid regime bribed the Rene regime with US$ 5,000,000 to release the mercenaries, according to reports from South Africa, and made the payment in crisps US$100 notes.  The mercenaries had been tried and found guilty of treason – despite the fact that they were foreigners – and sentenced to death.

Gerard Hoareau is buried in London and his body has been specially preserved in a zinc coffin so that it could be repatriated to Seychelles. His dossier at Scotland Yard remains open as an unsolved murder.

Copyright 2006: Seychelles Weekly, Victoria, Mahe, Seychelles